Playa Jefferson Building E
Owner: Marshall Property and Development
Lead Design Firm: Gensler
General Contractor: Austin Commercial
Civil Engineer: Psomas
Structural Engineer: Nabih Youssef
MEP Engineer: AMA Consulting Engineers PC
The design of Playa Jefferson Building E combines the industrial look of concrete on the lower level with a steel-and-wood “warehouse in the sky” above. The project team used innovative designs, engineering and preconstruction planning to build the structure’s 50,000 sq ft of technology office space.
The three-story building’s signature cantilever borrows from bridge engineering to maximize square footage. Two custom-fabricated steel box beams at the roof support hanging rods that suspend the concrete floor slab below in mid-air. To further emphasize a warehouse feel, the structure’s interior is open, with garage doors and operable windows. Outside the building are wide decks of locally sourced wood planks and a water retention pond.
The building required a new power switch and series of transformers, but installation was hampered by an undocumented rail line foundation and sink holes during heavy rains. The project team documented the underground structures and removed a portion of them.
The project began in October 2016 as Southern California headed into an usually wet winter. The team’s dewatering process with unique trenching and daily shoring allowed the crews to continue working. In order to operate the drilling rig safely, the team mixed concrete into the soil pad to create a 12-in. by 18-in. concrete dirt pad.
The concrete contractor found new ways to add value to the project, such as building a board-formed wall mock-up, which was damaged and then repaired. The lessons learned proved useful during construction when several portions of the poured wall needed to be repaired.
“Purposely damaging a mock-up and repairing it in anticipation of that condition in the field was brilliant,” a judge said, “and it paid off as the knowledge gained needed to be applied.”